The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, and Member, Representing Oredo Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. (Engr.) Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, has promised to support the teaching of Bini indigenous language in both Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Oredo Federal Constituency of Edo State.
He stated this while addressing participants at the just concluded 2-Day Cultural Orientation and Sensitization Programme, organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, which held 29th – 30th November, 2016, at the Emporium Events Centre, Benin City, Edo State.
While acknowledging encomium showered on him by both teachers and students of the twelve (12) participating schools for bringing the Cultural Orientation and Sensitization Programme down to them in Edo State, and requesting for the sustenance of the programme, Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama noted that the principals and teachers in the schools must play their part by ensuring that Cultural Clubs are established in schools where they are not existing; and that where they are existing but inactive, they should be revived, so that students will engage themselves meaningfully in cultural activities, thus learning about their culture.
He further called on the teachers to develop the inbuilt talents of the students by identifying their skills and counsel them into joining Cultural and Social Clubs like Debating and Dramatic Societies in Schools, where they would practice frequently, such that when events like the Cultural Orientation and Sensitization Programme come up, they would have a pool to select from, and that this will ensure they are grounded in the cultural activity they are engaging in.
The law maker promised, on his part, to do all within his ability to support the teaching of indigenous languages, especially Bini language, in schools in his Constituency and that he will continue to attract federal presence to his people by ensuring that programmes such as this with a Federal Parastatal, like NICO, an Institute charged with the mandate of cultural training and orientation, is sustained.
Earlier, two papers were presented: the first was the Guest Speaker, Hon. Nosa Omorodion, in a paper, entitled, “The Need and Strategies for Sustaining and Promoting Nigeria’s Indigenous Languages: Edo Language as a Case Study”, where he noted that the clamour for the sustenance and promotion of our indigenous languages in the face of the corrosive threat of foreign languages adopted as official language, was increasing by the day.
This clamour, he said, was because the danger in allowing the Edo language and other indigenous languages to continue to suffer continuous decline and possible extinction was that we stand the risk of loss of cultural identity one of the greatest ancient civilization and kingdoms – the Bini Kingdom.
Hon. Omorodion noted that in spite of whatever technological achievement we as a nation achieves, without our indigenous languages which are peculiar to us in the entire universe, “we are nothing better than the living dead because our indigenous language is what drives our culture, for language is the DNA of our culture”.
The second paper, entitled, “Our Culture, Our Pride, Our Heritage”, presented by Dr. Josephine Ebuwa Abbe of the Department of Theatre Arts and Mass Communication, University of Benin, proposed the emergence of a national culture, as a major key to addressing the various social problems confronting Nigeria, as a nation.
This position, she said, was borne out of the fact that Nigeria was a product of colonialism, with numerous ethnic groups, which were culturally established societies before the advent of colonialism.
Abbe reiterated that, having a national culture will give us first, an identity; an identity that would spell out a pattern of living for us as a united people; and that achieving this feat of a national culture would not be a Herculean task judging from the fact that the various ethnic cultures in the country are similar and integrative in nature.
She maintained, therefore, that evolving a national culture from the fusion of these will be based on conscious study of the peculiarities and commonalities of the various ethnic cultures in the country.
This venture, if engaged, she stated, would then result into a product that will reflect a collective thinking and serve as a national cultural emblem of ethnic interaction within the country and will help give birth to the non-material and material cultures for the Nigerian society, which will in turn create the sense of nationhood and increase loyalty of citizens to the central body and as a result evolve into the national culture we earnestly desire.
In his closing remarks, Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama commended the Management and Staff of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), for their efforts at ensuring a successful organization through planning, coordination, directing and effective implementation of the orientation and sensitization programme for both students in the Senior and Junior Secondary School in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, noting that it was a worthwhile venture working with the Institute in the promotion of Bini culture among the younger generation.
He equally appreciated the principals, teachers and students of the 12 participating schools at the event for their determination and enthusiasm throughout the duration of the programme, an indication to the fact they were all on the same page with NICO in the harmonization, promotion and preservation of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.
Dignitaries at the occasion included, HRH Anthony Osagie, the Enogie of Umegbe; HRH Ewemade Uyimwen, the Enogie of Iduhum Ogiekae; HRH Osawaru Eresoyen, the Enogie of Irue Owina; Chief Igbe of Bini Kingdom; Prince Akanoba of Bini Kingdom; Chief Macaulay of Bini Kingdom; and the State Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, among other guests.
NICO HQ, Abuja